Some people might call me a loner. A few of my friends may see me as a bit of a recluse. It is not that I don’t like being around people, it is just that I love peace and quiet.
I grew up in the James Bay Cree culture and raised more or less close to the land. I never felt comfortable in large groups of people even though I was raised in a large family with many relations in my home community. There were pros and cons to having people around all the time in a small community. I always felt more comfortable living the life of peace and quiet on the land the way my ancestors had for thousands of years. I found life in my small isolated community difficult and overbearing sometimes.
When I flew out to the greater world for education and then work, I became intrigued by learning as much as I could about other cultures and people. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel much of the world and to see how other people live. I have been treated with kindness by people everywhere I have ventured on this planet. However, my best memories have to do with being in quiet places watching the sunset or sitting in a mountain village with just a few good friends.
I devote much of my time now to escaping to my cottage in a semi remote part of the north. I enjoy the tranquility of living on the banks of a beautiful little esker lake surrounded by towering pine and poplar. I take great satisfaction in hearing the geese fly high overhead, watching the whiskeyjacks dance in the tress and I bear witness to the busy lives of the squirrels and chipmunks nearby.
I like working on my camp and making it comfortable for my friends and myself. I enjoy sitting back in my cozy little cottage watching a snowstorm while a large picture window from the warmth of my living room as the tall pines sway in the fierce north winds and the lake is almost obscured by the pulsating waves of flying snow. Through the marvel of technology, I have the world at my fingertips with a high-speed internet connection to my computer. News from the world is always just a click away.
How lucky are we northerners? We have the good fortune to live in small towns or out on the land in the wilderness, worlds away from the chaos and calamity centred around greed and fear. Still, when we feel the urge, all we have to do is take a short drive, visit an airport and hop on an airplane to travel just about anywhere in the world that we choose. How lucky are we to know what real peace and tranquility is here in the north?
When I venture into other parts of the world in Asia or Europe, I often show people a photo of my little camp on the banks of a small northern lake. Everyone reacts in the same way. They can’t believe that I live in a place so beautiful and so peaceful looking. This makes me appreciate my northerner home a whole lot more.
I have stood in the dusty street corners of Delhi, a city of 16 million people where I felt the density of population and the tragedy of poverty. I felt guilt, yet huge gratitude for being in a position where I could visit the streets of Delhi yet be able to leave it and return to a place that I can only describe as heavenly. We take for granted the beauty of the land and the creatures of the north.
We have a democratic and socially responsible political system in place here in Canada and we reap the benefits of many good things for our lives. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that we keep our heaven here in Canada alive and well by putting people in power who care about real democracy, sharing and nurturing our population while standing for peace and neighbourly relations with the rest of the world.
We are lucky we live in a place where everyone else wants to get to, let’s not lose it.